New Partners will Sanitize, Localize Games for Middle East

Media firm Rubicon Group Holding has partnered with Modern Electronics Co. Ltd., the sole distributor of Sony products in Saudi Arabia, in order to localize content appearing on various Sony platforms for Middle East users.

United Arab Emirates publication The National (thanks The Escapist) details the plans, which will include dubbing "certain games” into Arabic, adding Arabian characters and eliminating scenes that could run afoul of censors. Rubicon Executive Director Ghassan Ayoubi explained, “Those games that are extra-violent, or have sensitive issues for the region, will be edited for content.”

Ayoubi appeared wary of the “C” word, but used it anyway, stating, "It’s not censoring … it’s tailoring or customising it for the market.”

Rubicon will begin by altering existing (already completed) PlayStation 3 titles, but eventually plans to join the production cycle and brings its expertise to games still in development. The firm expects to work on two to four games per year, with FIFA Soccer 11 and the latest in the Uncharted series, being among the first to receive the Rubicon treatment.

Some titles are so far out from would be accepted in the Middle East that attempts to cleanse them will not even be undertaken. Ayoubi stated, that such games are “off the chart, because they would need reinventing.”

A release on the Rubicon website also indicates that the company would develop its own educational and entertaining games, “based on Arabic culture Storyboards.”

Recent games that never made their way into the UAE, for example, include Heavy Rain, Dante’s Inferno (which wasn’t even submitted to censors), Darksiders, God of War, Grand Theft Auto IV and Mafia II.

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  1. 0
    Kincyr says:

    heck, sugarcoating is a form of censorship

    岩「if Phyllis Schlafly wants to undo Women’s Rights, she should lead by example and get back in the kitchen」

  2. 0
    Magic says:

    Rohin: It depends how far you go. Translating a language is the most obvious part of localization and so certain things have to be changed for context, like how the Phoenix Wright games had to refer to different pop culture instead of the ones mentioned in the original Japanese version. Yet then we had hostess clubs being removed from Yakuza 3 which some people were annoyed at – clearly certain gamers want to have the experience be as close to the original as possible and I agree. If the game is completely changed, what’s the point?

    I’m not sure it’ll be as atrocious as people are imagining – just look at Mariah Carey’s edited album covers in the Middle East, she simply had more clothes added to her to reduce the skin on show, rather than, as I’m sure a xenophobe would have you believe, a digital burkha added to her head.

  3. 0
    Rohin says:

    Localisation is an important part of selling any product; you tailor your product to the desires and laws of the target region to be able to sell there.

    If another area wanted to sell games in the west, they’d have to use characters that the west could identify with. Final Fantasy springs to mind as an example.

    If you want to say that only one version of the game should be made, to be used wherever the game is sold, you cut out a lot of areas you could be selling your game. Australia, for instance, has many sanitised games because of their Byzantine laws – they are criticised for it, and some companies choose not to change their games to sell there. But many companies do change their games to sell there, which is no different to this.

    Companies want to sell their product, so they tailor their product to their target audience. With multiple audiences, multiple products.

  4. 0
    Roh02 says:

    this is why they cant have nice things … they’re not allowed to have them.

    not until the things are made less nice … oh is it racist to say changing the races to Arab ones makes the games less nice?.

    the politcally correct would say little to nothing about this but if a company was changing arab races to western ones it would be out right war.

    double standards urgh … I dont hate arab people I think they should get to play the games uncensored and NOT kept from them by their own government just because they dont agree with the content let "THE PEOPLE" themselves decide.

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